Monday, July 17, 2006

Carnegie Hall Contest

I'm personally and professionaly one of the NO!SPEC rebels. I believe that professionals should not hand out creatives (work, sketches, anything that takes substantial time or could be stolen and produced by any kid with an art program) for any client's job without being under contract to be paid for the work, deposits or down payments optional. This extends to contest work, where dozens of designers are invited to submit finished works in the hope that they will be picked out as the one good enough for the reward.

I've been reading and commenting on NO!SPEC articles for a couple months, and now I come across an interesting post on Craigslist:

Date: 2006-07-12

Carnegie Hall Seeks Original Art for Its Playbill Covers!

THEME “Music as a fundamental expression of the human spirit”--using Carnegie Hall’s 2006-2007 season as inspiration. Please visit for complete season details.

ELIGIBILITY Open to all enrolled students (valid identification required)

STYLE AND MEDIUM Any style and any medium, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and computer-generated art

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS jpeg, tiff, or pdf digital format only; file size not to exceed 2 mb; e-mail to

PRIZES Each of 10 selected entrants will receive $500 and 2 tickets to a performance at Carnegie Hall.

Deadline: August 31, 2006

Selected artists must be living, reside in the United States, provide their Social Security numbers, and sign a release for the use of their work.Winning works will appear on the covers of Carnegie Hall’s concert program books throughout the 2006-2007 season. Please note that while we encourage all forms of artistic expression, some controversial subject matter may not be suitable for publication. Submissions should not be literal representations of musicians appearing at Carnegie Hall. Also note that while artists will retain ownership of their original works, the photographic representation of each winning work will be considered a work made for hire for The Carnegie Hall Corporation (CHC), and CHC will own all copyrights and other rights in it, including, without limitation, the exclusive right to adapt it and to use it for any purpose and in any medium now known or devised in the future, perpetually and throughout the world.

no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $500 and 2 tickets to a performance at Carnegie Hall

This contest is of course a contest. Carnegie Hall is looking for dozens of people to pour their time into a project, and looking to reward someone and use their work. Only this time there are some key differences. It's open to students only; not many speculative work contests are only open to valid students. There are 10 prizes -- that certainly increases the chances of winning, and means that it's less likely that there will have been ties for first place and the winner chosen by the flip of a coin. Knowing PlayBills, it's possible there will be 10 covers printed, and all the winners' pieces distributed to a very mixed audience (and making a terrific portfolio piece). The prize is pretty fair -- they're giving out a total of $5000 to 10 students -- and how many students couldn't use $500?

Other interesting things to note: It's mixed media, and there aren't many chances for students to get that type of money for a media of their choice. It's not a venue where the student would be needed for branding advice, or future support, unlike logo or website design contests -- they need 10 single photos/pictures to print for the program book covers. The work produced by the entrants would be able to be generic and useful for other purposes (unlike a logo or web design).

I'm not saying it's a good contest; I find it difficult to judge this one. What I am saying is that of the contests I've seen, this one is different, more fair, unlikely to hurt Carnegie Hall in the way that most speculative contests I have seen are eventually going to bite the company holding the contest.

Would anyone care to comment on it?

[tags]activism, spec work, competition, rant, time[/tags]

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